Blogs from Pingyao, Shanxi, China, Asia

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Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao May 31st 2013

Another day, another province in China… This time we were driving to Shanxi, a province somehow forgotten or lost in time it would seem as an estimated three million people still live in caves around here! And you don’t really need to be driving around for a long time trying to find the caves as they are spread everywhere around the province, you can easily spot them once you drive through the region – cave dwellings all around. Our group leaders were saying the day before that it was going to be a long drive that day – it could be a 5-hour up to 8-hour drive depending on the road conditions, whether we would fit through one place or whether we would have to drive around it... hmmm… It didn’t make sense at the time ... read more
the streets of Pingyao
sun setting over Lijiashan
side streets of Pingyao

Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao January 23rd 2013

CHINA: Ten New Songs...Party in Pingyao. Escaping the winter pollution of Datong by taxi...hoping the coal smoke would not chase us South...hope our hotel will take us a day earlier...the longest taxi ride of our lives...383 kms...4 hours one way...8 hours return for the driver...price to us well worth it. Ren Cheng has a co-driver...race down the expressway...only stopping to photograph Yamen Pass Great Wall. As we approached Taiyuen, the capital of Shanxi Provence, we saw a pall of smoke ahead, chimney stacks, power stations, the twin pagodas of Taiyuen...black with soot, a farmer hoeing his veggie patch against the wall of a power station chimney, 100 kms of smoke stacks...the power house of China. All I could think of was this is where "The Apocalypse" should be filmed. 108 kms south..walled city approaching...welcome to Pingyao. ... read more
OUR KANG
PINGYAO
PINGYAO

Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao November 16th 2012

We arrived in Pingyao at 00:35 after an 8 hour ride on a hard seat from Datong.if anyone has travelled in China they will know that 8 hours sitting down is a stretch, but 8 hours literally being crammed into your seat, surrounded by Chinese gawping at you, basically sitting on you and constantly waving their bare arsed babies in your face (whilst we waited to get weed on as they generally just hold them in the aisle to do their business) is no easy ride but is definitely an experience. Although after meeting a fellow traveller later in the hostel we found out that it could have been worse - he had a standing only ticket for 9 hours and unknowingly sat in the smoking area for the whole time!!! Anyway the journey was pretty ... read more

Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao October 31st 2012

Coming out of Tiayuan airport I have to say my first impression on Shanxi was ’brown’. Autumn is in full swing here with all the fields filled with various crops ready for harvest. The principle of the school I will be working at come to meet me at the airport along with a driver…I still don’t know his name as the principle only referred to him as ‘driver’. The journey to the school (and my dormitory) was about 2 and a half hours as well as a brief stop for food despite me saying I wasn’t hungry as I had eaten on the plane. Once we arrived the first difference I noticed from Yangshuo was that it was cold…as in put a winter jacket on it’s cold. This didn’t really bother me as it was what ... read more
Bedroom
Kitchen
Dining Room

Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao October 29th 2012

After an 8 hour restless train journey from Datong, we arrived into Pingyao at 1am. Our hostel pick up which was promised wasn’t there to meet us at the station, so we jumped in a taxi and rattled down the quiet dark streets into the old walled city. Once at our hostel we were shown to our room, which was set around a quaint courtyard and very original with high ceilings, stain-glassed windows, large wooden furniture and an oversized ‘bed’ built onto a big concrete platform – this was our first glance into this traditional town. We were shattered and even though it was cold and the electric blanket we excitedly found wasn’t working, we fell asleep quickly. The next morning we had a well-earned lay in until 10am, discovered we had both caught a cold ... read more
On the way home . . .
Lovely lanterns
Local Art store

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Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao October 20th 2012

20 octobre 2012 Bien le bonjour, En direct de la Chine! Notre départ du Japon ne fût pas sans regret (je n’étais pas encore assise dans l’avion que j’avais envie de sushis…) mais en même temps nous avions hâte de débuter une nouvelle aventure. Une nouvelle aventure qui avait pourtant bien commencé, avec tous nos moyens de transports planifiés et notre hôtel à Beijing réservé… Nous sommes arrivés au centre-ville de Beijing à 21h30 du soir, et après une heure de recherche dans un quartier qui s’éteignait tranquillement, nous sommes entrés dans un hôtel que l’on soupçonnait être le bon. Dans une petite ruelle noire et presque déserte, si ce n’était des deux dames qui allaient aux toilettes publiques, toilettes que se partagent les habitants puisque les logements n’en possèdent pas tous. Nous sommes donc entrés ... read more
Pingyao-bouffe de rue
Pingyao-bouffe de rue
Pinyao-chauffage au charbon

Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao September 25th 2012

Pingyao is a 13 hour overnight train ride from Beijing. There aren't a lot of soft sleepers on this train, so I missed out getting one. Instead, I got one of the last hard sleepers, the top bunk of three. Having walked around the Forbidden City all day the day of my departure, I had no problem sleeping through most of the trip despite the hardness and lack of head room. Pingyao was a prosperous city during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. The claim is that it was the Wall Street of its day. The first trading banks ever established in China were established here, only because the right business people with the right idea happened to be here. Its importance declined as trade through coastal towns like Shanghai became more important. Because of ... read more
Pingyao Street
Making Pingyao Mooncakes
Pingyao Shop Window

Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao September 12th 2012

Pingyao is an ancient Chinese city surrounded by the original walls built over 1000 years ago. Only one section of wall had to be rebuilt after a portion collapsed a few years ago. We wanted to spend some time in Pingyao mainly to break up our long trip from Beijing to Xi'an and unwind after seeing Beijing. Once we arrived, we checked into our hostel and, as usual, hit the streets. The main streets are lined with vendors that at first glance appear to have fantastic genuine Chinese relics. Old chess boards, coins, tools etc. blew us away until we realized every store has the exact same things and they weren't really as old as they looked. There was also an abundance of stone carvings, jade jewlery/statues, and tour groups. Pingyao really is beautiful. We escaped ... read more
Shop front
View from Central Tower II
Guesthouse

Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao September 12th 2012

Oh my goodness, we are in China... wait... what?! I'm going through all the same emotions I experienced two months ago when we arrived in Indonesia. Culture shock round two! Overall, I'm very impressed. We were really smart to practise our key social terms before getting here. The little mandarin we can speak has gone a long way! The locals seem to find it pretty amusing when we can say the price of something or carry on a short conversation with a child. We probably sound silly, but I love it. I have never really wanted to learn another language before. Sure, I found french class more interesting than most and took it a year longer than required, but other than that I never had to speak anything other than english and wasn't in a hurry ... read more

Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao September 4th 2012

Today I........... Got a blood samples taken from me ( yes I did cry a little)..eek Gave a urine Sample Chest Xrays ECG Ultrasounds Eye Test Blood Pressure Colour Eye test All within less than 2 hours, including regsitration and everything. Now that is effiecnt. Lets hope everything comes back that I have good health so I can get my Working Visa for teaching. It is amazing how everything went so quickly.... read more




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